TAOS, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a historic area in the middle of a New Mexico town, but who owns it? To make sure the Taos Plaza doesn’t fall into disrepair, officials are trying to figure that out. “It’s important to know the maintenance costs, but also who is going to bear those costs going forward,” said Taos County Manager Brent Jaramillo.

Jaramillo mentioned he’s heard rumors for years, that the town of Taos does not actually own Taos Plaza. Now, it seems there might be something to it, after a discovery during a construction project earlier this year. “We began that work, and during the process it was discovered that we’re not really sure who owns the plaza,” said Town of Taos Mayor, Pascual Maestas.  

According to town and county officials, the question came to light while they were working on a drainage project under the plaza. Officials eventually came across a document signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935, granting ownership to the county. The town has been managing the plaza for decades, but no one knows if ownership was ever transferred back to the town. Right now, the county added it doesn’t have the funding to maintain the plaza.

Both entities have brought in legal and real estate experts to help them figure it out and make sure the task of keeping the plaza beautiful and functional doesn’t fall through the cracks. “I’m not sure what the title search will demonstrate. It could be that Taos County owns it, or it could be at some point that was turned over to the town of Taos,” said Jaramillo.

The county said they expect the research done by the title company they hired to be sent to them this week. As they work together to find answers, the town and county both alluded to the possibility of joint ownership going forward. “We’re just going to do what’s best for all of our constituents and take care of the plaza the best we can,” said Mayor Maestas.

The town does own the drainage infrastructure under the plaza, so the first phase of the rehabilitation project can continue. However, the town is waiting on sorting out the ownership, before they move on to the surface phases of the project.